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Boynton Beach could see up to 50 donation bins across city

Residents could see up to 50 bins for unwanted clothing and other items pop up around the city now that Boynton Beach officials have decided to partner with a textile recycling company in a deal that promises the former about $100,000 per year at least.

The company, Florida Textile Recycling Programs , said Davie in Broward County has a contract with them, and the town has received more than $360,000 in three years.

In Boynton, 50 bins might not mean 50 locations. One shopping center could accommodate three bins, said company chairman Marc Douglas. And even if the company can’t come up with places for 50 containers, the city would still get the $100,000.

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City officials chose this company over Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, despite a committee of three city employees recommending they choose the nonprofit. Staff said having the bins helps protect the environment by keeping reusable clothing and textile items out of landfills and encourages charitable donations.

Despite Goodwill wanting the deal, the nonprofit said they’ve worked to ban the kiosks elsewhere. The nonprofit has to compete with for-profit companies for these, said Brian Edwards, Goodwill’s vice president of marketing and development.

But “we can’t afford not to bid,” Edwards said. He said the money the nonprofit would make from recycling the items goes directly to their programs and services.

“There’s always the argument that there’s enough to go around for everybody. What we’re experiencing in the textile donated-goods industry for nonprofits is that is not the case,” Edwards said.

Commissioner Justin Katz said it sounded like Goodwill was trying to create a “de facto monopoly.”

All commissioners voted for Florida Textile except for Commissioner Mack McCray. He praised Goodwill’s work in the community. He also said he doesn’t want the city “to become a bin-complacent city.”

“I don’t want to wake up one morning and see 50 bins,” he said at the April 3 commission meeting.

Vice Mayor Christina Romelus expressed concern about the upkeep of the containers. She was pleased to hear Florida Textile has someone who inspects the bins seven days per week and also has technology that monitors each bin and its fullness.

Still, she said supporting the 50 bins makes her “nervous” because she doesn’t want Boynton to become “inundated with mismanaged bins.”

Boynton already has these clothing and textiles recycling bins in the city but they likely have not been approved by city staff. Mike Rumpf, the city’s director of planning and zoning, said Boynton has not given any permits out for these in the past couple years. Florida Textile said they have bins at SouthTech Academy, SouthTech Preparatory and Imagine Schools Chancellor, said Douglas.

Not every city or county allows these kiosks. The Palm Beach County Commission banned them with the support of Goodwill, Edwards said. West Palm Beach doesn’t allow them either.

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